Neighbors near a wooded area near the Patterson area played a “vital” role in finding two hunters who were reported missing over the weekend.

Family members told the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday that the two men had not returned as expected from a rabbit hunting trip. The men had been gone since the morning and were seen heading into the wooded area south of the railroad tracks in the vicinity of Jake Street, but got lost during the day.

As deputies responded to the report, so did several volunteers from nearby.

“The volunteers’ knowledge of the area was vital in locating the men and returning them home safely,” says Public Information Officer Traci Landry with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office. “The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office extends sincere thanks to those who volunteered their time and resources to assist in the late night search.”

The men were found unharmed shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday morning.